Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks to members of the media next to Apple’s new Vision Pro virtual reality headset during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference at Apple Park on campus in Cupertino, California, June 5, 2023.
Josh Edelson |: AFP Getty Images:
on monday Apple: The $3,500 Vision Pro “spatial computing” headset has been unveiled to the public ahead of a planned launch early next year.
Apple now has to convince developers to build apps for it, even though the hardware isn’t yet widely available.
App support for Vision Pro will be critical to its success. While iPad apps will be able to run inside the headset, Apple hopes developers will move beyond simple 2D windowing to the platform and create full 3D apps that weren’t previously possible on tablets, phones or laptops.
“We’ve always seen this first-gen device as a new tool/platform for developers, who now have 6+ months until the headset launches to create the ‘killer’ app that takes AR/VR from niche to mainstream,” he wrote. Morgan Stanley analyst. Eric Woodring in a post on Tuesday.
In a tech-focused presentation called Platforms State of the Union released by Apple on Monday, Apple said developers will be able to model Vision Pro apps inside Xcode, the main software creation program for Apple devices. Coders can run and debug inside the simulator and navigate around the 3D space using their keyboard or game controller.
Apple also plans to give some software makers early access to the hardware. It has announced on its website that it will be accepting applications for the developer kit. Apple will also host developer labs in California, London, Munich, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo that will be available with hardware access. Developers must also apply to participate.
All of this effort is aimed at securing Vision Pro’s app store when it eventually goes on sale.
Apple will likely manage to bring a few apps to the device on day one. Microsoft has said that its Office suite, historically a must-have for new operating systems, will be available for the new platform. Disney+ will also be available for the headset, bringing movies and TV shows. Apple offers compatibility assessments of existing iPad and iPhone apps through the App Review section so developers can determine how it might work on VisionOS and easily port their games or software.
But Apple’s reliance on third-party apps goes beyond flat windows floating in space. In Monday’s presentation, Apple highlighted several third-party apps that have broken away from static floating windows and displayed 3D content that interacts with the real world.
“Space experiences can take many forms and can include 3D objects that look and feel real,” an Apple spokesperson said.
Apple highlighted the Complete HeartX, which shows a 3D beating heart that can be taken apart to see how it works. JigSpace installed a giant F1 racing car model in the showroom, and Sky Guide turns the user’s entire ceiling into a planetarium. The djay Apple preview puts the virtual turntable decks on the table in front of the user.
Better FaceTime shown
At the end of Apple’s developer-focused presentation, it previewed a version of FaceTime that wasn’t featured in the keynote launch video, hinting at what Apple wants to see from its developers.
“We want to take FaceTime to the next level in Vision Pro and enable users to communicate as if they were actually in the room together. This experience is still in its early form, and we’re excited to share it with you here for the first time,” Jeff Norris, Apple’s senior director of visionOS applications, said in the video.
During a keynote presentation on Monday, Apple unveiled its new “personas,” or digital recreations of artificial intelligence, so they can appear in a video call even while wearing a headset.
In Apple’s pre-recorded presentation on Monday, it showed off a version of FaceTime in which people video conferencing are displayed in floating tiles, including virtual avatars of someone using a Reality Pro headset.
Apple’s approach to creating realistic avatars is controversial Meta:whose virtual reality representations of people are clearly cartoonish and have no legs. Microsoftstands are also cartoons.
But in the “next-level” version of FaceTime, shown in the developer’s keynote, the 3D avatar was no longer confined to a box. Instead, the persona’s head floated in space.